I love this time of year. The temperature and humidity are on the rise and the fish are chewing their heads off as a direct result. The barramundi impoundment scene is no exception to this. Sure you can still get them in the wintery months and let’s face it, it doesn’t get overly cold up here at all, even at that time of the year, but October through to say April are great times for impoundment barra bashin’ across Queensland.
Being from Mackay, I am very fortunate in the fact that I am within close proximity to 3 excellent barramundi impoundments – Kinchant Dam, Teemburra Dam and Peter Faust Dam. Peter Faust is the furthest dam from my doorstep, located about 150km north and Kinchant Dam being a mere 40km away which is very handy indeed. Eungella Dam is a 4th dam in close proximity and despite the fact it has been stocked with barramundi it is more formidably known as a excellent sooty grunter location, with big black footballs commonly caught on surface lures around the timber tops.
Kinchant Dam though is seriously one of my favourite places on this earth. Heavily stocked, close to town and it’s smallish size of 900ha (compared to Faust being roughly 4300ha) makes it a fishable prospect when you may only have a couple of spare hours free and in need of a fishing fix.
It’s such an exciting prospect to know that on any given cast you could potentially hook up to a metre plus trophy fish. Take for example, the photo’s accompanying this report. On one cast I caught the tiniest impoundment fish I had ever caught at 50cm and then 15 minutes later I caught a descent 97cm fish (so not quite a metre but I’m sure you get my drift). You just never know what you’re going to get. It’s kind of like Forrest Gumps famous box of chocolates line!
The early morning and late afternoon low light periods are certainly my favourite times of the day to fish this location. I start off by working stickbaits (roughly 100mm) around the top of the weed beds and then change to weedlessly rigged soft plastics once the sun gets up. In an ideal scenario, a water level roughly one metre above the top of the weed is a great amount of water to work both your surface lures and plastics so that you can have some chance of stopping these fish before they take you back to the weed and begin to make things difficult.
Most people avoid the weed beds because of the inconvenience of the occasional fouled up lure on the weed, but adjusting to weedless plastics to compensate for this is the way to go. After all, weed beds provide ample bait supply and habitat for the larger fish.
Baitcast or spin gear around the 5-8kg or 6-10kg mark is a great place to start. In baitcast, I like to use a shimano curado and in spin a 4000 sized stradic, rarenium or sustain will get the job done when spooled with 20lb braid and 60lb leader.
Large, weedlessly rigged (on 7/0 Gamakatsu EWG hooks), paddle tailed plastics are a good choice when fishing the weed beds with very popular options being the 115m squidgy mongrel in the colour of drop bear and 130mm black and gold slick rigs. Some people may experiment from time to time by dipping the tails in coloured dye to provide a contrast to the lure.
Forget about the misconception that bathtub barra don’t fight. I will admit that they don’t fight quite as hard as a salty of the same size however they are certainly no slouches either and commonly stitch up an under-prepared angler.
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